CHATTANOOGA, TN, April 7, 2020– In response to the spread of COVID-19, Galen Medical Group is offering Telehealth services and drive-through COVID-19 testing in Hamilton County to better address the health needs of the Chattanooga community during these uncertain times.
Galen Remote Access Care is a new program offering safe, direct access to remote medical care for the greater Chattanooga area. This outreach is available to existing Galen patients as well as new patients who are seeking access to remote healthcare during this challenging time of social distancing.
In addition to providing access to healthcare solutions traditional for in-office visits, Galen Remote Access Care is working to address the needs of the community in response to COVID-19 through their telephonic triage services. New patients with health issues not related to COVID are encouraged to call the triage line, and simply state that they are seeking care for other health concerns during this time of social distancing.
Following a Telehealth triage call, COVID-19 testing is currently being conducted by Galen for qualified patients. Patients experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19– fever, cough, and shortness of breath– are encouraged to contact us. Informed by CDC recommendations, our COVID-19 testing is conducted using a protocol that has been uniquely developed by our team in an effort to keep everyone as safe as possible from potential exposure to the virus. Patients deemed to require testing during their initial screening are sent to a centralized drive-up facility at a scheduled time for next steps. Our testing process is being implemented to control exposure in a way that is virtually impossible in traditional clinic settings, resulting in a much safer outcome for all involved.
During this extraordinary effort, it is important to remember that the protocols are in place for the protection of the community and providers alike. Testing can only be performed following the outcome of the triage screening call, and only at the appropriate time and location specified.
Our COVID-19 response team is currently led by two Galen providers, Dr. Julie Bilbrey and Chris Snyder, PA. This pair is dedicated to serving the Chattanooga community, and providing COVID-19 testing in a safe and controlled environment. As COVID-19 testing is widely unavailable elsewhere in our area, Galen Medical Group is honored to be able to serve the community in this special way.
“We are confident that if everyone is mindful of their health, is diligent about sheltering in place to the greatest extent possible, and takes personal measures to limit their contact with others, we will defeat the threat of COVID-19 more quickly, and with the least impact on families in our community,” Dr. Julie Bilbrey said.
Bilbrey went on to say that the best practice is to act as though you yourself are positive for COVID-19, and determined not to infect others. “This is much different than assuming we are well, and casually trying to avoid those who may be sick,” she said. “It is a fact in this pandemic that many seemingly well individuals are unknowingly transmitting this virus.”
Chris Snyder described the COVID-19 crisis as a wake up call. “COVID-19 is a strong reminder of things we should have been doing all along– practicing good hand hygiene, covering coughs and sneezes, protecting others from our illnesses, and cherishing friends and family enough to change our behaviors,” he said.